MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Good news for South Florida’s disabled: new laws effective Oct. 1 will free up more disabled parking spaces.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reports the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will implement the new law, which aims to reduce abuse and the fraud of obtaining Disabled Parking permits. That comes as welcome news to the many disabled people forced to park elsewhere because parking spaces are occupied by people who don’t need them.

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The below statement was issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles regarding the new law:

Effective Oct. 1, any person issued a blue permanent disabled parking permit must renew the permit every four years and, when doing so, provide a certificate of disability completed and signed by a certifying authority within the last 12 months. That means every blue disabled parking permit holder will, at least every four years and within 12 months of the date of their renewal, fill out Form HSMV 83039. Permit holders will not have to pay a renewal fee.

In addition, effective July 1, if your blue permanent disabled parking permit is lost or stolen, a replacement will only be issued if you submit the same documentation required for renewals.

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The new law does not affect red temporary disabled parking permits, nor people who have disabled (wheelchair) license plates.

Under current Florida law, blue disabled parking permit holders must renew their parking permits every four years, but they do not have to submit certificates of disability when renewing. They can renew online, by mail or by visiting a Tax Collector’s office.

The legislation also directs DHSMV to collect calls reporting abuse of the permits. Calls should be placed to the DHSMV Customer Service Center at 850-617-3803.

The blue disabled parking permit with a current sticker must be visible from the front and rear of a motor vehicle. One side of the permit must display the applicant’s driver license number or state identification card number along with a warning the applicant must have such identification at all times while using the parking permit.

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Illegally obtaining or using a permit can result in the loss of the parking permit and carries the potential for criminal penalties as outlined in Florida Statute 320.0848.